Grímur Kamban

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Grímur Kamban
Born8/9th century
Died9/10th century
NationalityNorwegian (Norse)
Known forFirst Norse to appear in Faroe Islands
Faroese stamp commemorating the poem "Grímur Kamban" by Janus Djurhuus

Grímur Kamban was, according to the Færeyinga saga, the first man to set foot in the Faroe Islands. The name was written Grímr in Old Norse and often Grim in English.

Settlement of the Faroe Islands[edit]

The saga says, he was a Norwegian Viking escaping the tyranny of the Norse king Haraldur Hárfagri. However, this is an error in this saga, because Harald's age was in the late 9th century, while the first Norse settlers reached the Faroes after 825.

"According to the Færeyinga saga... the first settler in the Faroe Islands was a man named Grímur Kamban - Hann bygdi fyrstr Færeyar, it may have been the land taking of Grímur and his followers that caused the anchorites to leave... the nickname Kamban is probably Gaelic and one interpretation is that the word refers to some physical handicap, another that it may point to his prowess as a sportsman. Probably he came as a young man to the Faroe Islands by way of Viking Ireland, and local tradition has it that he settled at Funningur in Eysturoy."[1]

It was also Irish monks, known as papar, who settled in the Faroes from about 625, which is today proved by botanical researches[citation needed]. According to Dicuil, those monks left the islands before 825 after Viking raids. Thus Grímur Kamban is supposed to be the first man, who re-settled the Faroes.

It is said that he settled down in Funningur on Eysturoy.[2] The name funningur means finding. Excavations have shown Viking houses in this area, as well as all over the Faroes.


The name Kamban indicates Celtic origins. Thus he could have been a man from Ireland, Western Isles or Isle of Man, where the Vikings already had settlements. Another theory says, he could have been an early Christianized Norwegian under the influence of Irish monks there.

If Gaelic, the first part of Kamban would originate in the Old Gaelic camb "crooked". The name Kamban is therefore most likely be derived from cambán "crooked one" (c.f. Modern Irish camán, Scots Gaelic caman and Manx camane). The root camb is also found in the Gaelic names Campbell (originally caimbeul) "crooked-mouth" and Cameron (camshròn) "crooked nose", as well as the sports term cambóg, which in Gaelic refers to the type of stick used in games like hurling, hockey and golf.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schei, Liv Kjørsvik & Moberg, Gunnie (2003) The Faroe Islands. Birlinn.
  2. ^ "Funningur / Færøerne /" (in Danish). Retrieved 2013-08-20.